1. Let us . . . fear--not with slavish terror, but
godly "fear and trembling"
Since so many have fallen, we have cause to fear
being left us--still remaining to us after the others
have, by neglect, lost it.
his rest--God's heavenly rest, of which Canaan is the type.
"To-day" still continues, during which there is the danger of failing
to reach the rest. "To-day," rightly used, terminates in the
rest which, when once obtained, is never lost
A foretaste of the rest Is given in the inward rest which the
believer's soul has in Christ.
should seem to come short of it--Greek, "to have
come short of it"; should be found, when the great trial of all
shall take place [ALFORD], to have fallen short of
attaining the promise. The word "seem" is a mitigating mode of
expression, though not lessening the reality. BENGEL and OWEN take it, Lest there
should be any semblance or appearance of falling short.
2. gospel preached . . . unto them--in type: the
earthly Canaan, wherein they failed to realize perfect rest, suggesting
to them that they should look beyond to the heavenly land of rest, to
which faith is the avenue, and from which unbelief
excludes, as it did from the earthly Canaan.
the word preached--literally, "the word of hearing": the word
heard by them.
not being mixed with faith in them that heard--So the
Syriac and the Old Latin Versions, older than any of our
manuscripts, and LUCIFER, read, "As the world did
not unite with the hearers in faith." The word heard being the food
which, as the bread of life, must pass into flesh and blood through
man's appropriating it to himself in faith. Hearing alone is of as
little value as undigested food in a bad stomach [THOLUCK]. The whole of oldest extant manuscript
authority supports a different reading, "unmingled as they were
(Greek accusative case agreeing with 'them') in faith with its
hearers," that is, with its believing, obedient hearers, as
Caleb and Joshua. So "hear" is used for "obey" in the context,
"To-day, if ye will hear His voice." The disobedient, instead of being
blended in "the same body," separated themselves as Korah: a tacit
reproof to like separatists from the Christian assembling together
3. For--justifying his assertion of the need of "faith,"
we which have believed--we who at Christ's coming shall be found
to have believed.
do enter--that is, are to enter: so two of the oldest
manuscripts and LUCIFER and the old Latin.
Two other oldest manuscripts read, "Let us enter."
into rest--Greek, "into the rest" which is
promised in the ninety-fifth Psalm.
as he said--God's saying that unbelief excludes from
entrance implies that belief gains an entrance into the rest.
What, however, Paul mainly here dwells on in the quotation is that the
promised "rest" has not yet been entered into. At
he again, as in
already, takes up faith as the indispensable qualification for
although, &c.--Although God had finished His works of creation
and entered on His rest from creation long before Moses' time,
yet under that leader of Israel another rest was promised, which most
fell short of through unbelief; and although the rest in Canaan was
subsequently attained under Joshua, yet long after, in David's days,
God, in the ninety-fifth Psalm, still speaks of the rest of God
as not yet attained. THEREFORE, there must be
meant a rest still future, namely, that which "remaineth for the
people of God" in heaven,
when they shall rest from their works, as God did from His,
The argument is to show that by "My rest," God means a future rest, not
for Himself, but for us.
finished--Greek, "brought into existence," "made."
4. he spake--God
God did rest the seventh day--a rest not ending with the seventh
day, but beginning then and still continuing, into which believers
shall hereafter enter. God's rest is not a rest necessitated by
fatigue, nor consisting in idleness, but is that upholding and
governing of which creation was the beginning [ALFORD]. Hence Moses records the end of each of the
first six days, but not of the seventh.
from all his works--Hebrew,
"from all His work." God's "work" was one, comprehending,
however, many "works."
5. in this place--In this passage of the Psalm again, it is
implied that the rest was even then still future.
6. it remaineth--still to be realized.
some must enter--The denial of entrance to unbelievers is a
virtual promise of entrance to those that believe. God wishes not His
rest to be empty, but furnished with guests
they to whom it was first preached entered not--literally, "they
who first (in the time of Moses) had the Gospel preached to them,"
namely, in type, see on
unbelief--Greek, rather "disobedience" (see on
7. Again--Anew the promise recurs. Translate as the
Greek order is, "He limited a certain day, 'To-day.'" Here Paul
interrupts the quotation by, "In (the Psalm of) David saying after so
long a time (after five hundred years' possession of Canaan)," and
resumes it by, "as it has been said before (so the
Greek oldest manuscript, before, namely,
Heb 3:7, 15),
To-day if ye hear His voice," &c. [ALFORD].
8. Answer to the objection which might be made to his reasoning,
namely, that those brought into Canaan by Joshua (so "Jesus" here
means, as in
did enter the rest of God. If the rest of God meant Canaan, God
would not after their entrance into that land, have spoken (or speak
[ALFORD]) of another (future) day of entering the
9. therefore--because God "speaks of another day" (see on
remaineth--still to be realized hereafter by the "some (who)
must enter therein"
that is, "the people of God," the true Israel who shall enter into
God's rest ("My rest,"
God's rest was a Sabbatism; so also will ours be.
a rest--Greek, "Sabbatism." In time there are many
Sabbaths, but then there shall be the enjoyment and keeping of a
Sabbath-rest: one perfect and eternal. The "rest" in
is Greek, "catapausis;" Hebrew, "Noah";
rest from weariness, as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings to
and fro; and as Israel, under Joshua, enjoyed at last rest from war in
Canaan. But the "rest" in this
is the nobler and more exalted (Hebrew) "Sabbath"
rest; literally, "cessation": rest from work when
as God rested
The two ideas of "rest" combined, give the perfect view of the heavenly
Sabbath. Rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the
completion of God's new creation
The whole renovated creation shall share in it; nothing will there be
to break the Sabbath of eternity; and the Triune God shall rejoice in
the work of His hands
Moses, the representative of the law, could not lead Israel into
Canaan: the law leads us to Christ, and there its office ceases, as
that of Moses on the borders of Canaan: it is Jesus, the antitype of
Joshua, who leads us into the heavenly rest. This verse indirectly
establishes the obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues
until the antitype supersedes it: so legal sacrifices continued till
the great antitypical Sacrifice superseded it, As then the antitypical
heavenly Sabbath-rest will not be till Christ, our Gospel Joshua,
comes, to usher us into it, the typical earthly Sabbath must continue
till then. The Jews call the future rest "the day which is all
10. For--justifying and explaining the word "rest," or
"Sabbatism," just used (see on
he that is entered--whosoever once enters.
his rest--God's rest: the rest prepared by God for
His people [ESTIUS]. Rather, "His rest":
the man's rest: that assigned to him by God as his. The
Greek is the same as that for "his own" immediately after.
hath ceased--The Greek aorist is used of indefinite time,
"is wont to cease," or rather, "rest": rests. The past
tense implies at the same time the certainty of it, as also that
in this life a kind of foretaste in Christ is already given [GROTIUS]
Mt 11:28, 29).
Our highest happiness shall, according to this verse, consist in our
being united in one with God, and moulded into conformity with Him as
our archetype [CALVIN].
from his own works--even from those that were good and suitable
to the time of doing work. Labor was followed by rest even in Paradise
(Ge 2:3, 15).
The work and subsequent rest of God are the archetype to which we
should be conformed. The argument is: He who once enters rest, rests
from labors; but God's people have not yet rested from them, therefore
they have not yet entered the rest, and so it must be still future.
ALFORD translates, "He that entered into his (or
else God's, but rather 'his';
'His rest': 'the joy of the Lord,'
Mt 25:21, 23)
rest (namely, Jesus, our Forerunner,
Heb 4:14; 6:20,
'The Son of God that is passed through the heavens': in contrast
to Joshua the type, who did not bring God's people into
the heavenly rest), he himself (emphatical) rested from
as God (did) from His own" (so the Greek, "works"). The
argument, though generally applying to anyone who has entered his
rest, probably alludes to Jesus in particular, the antitypical
Joshua, who, having entered His rest at the Ascension, has ceased or
rested from His work of the new creation, as God on the seventh day
rested from the work of physical creation. Not that He has ceased to
carry on the work of redemption, nay, He upholds it by His mediation;
but He has ceased from those portions of the work which constitute the
foundation; the sacrifice has been once for all accomplished. Compare
as to God's creation rest, once for all completed, and rested from, but
now still upheld (see on
11. Let us . . . therefore--Seeing such a promise is
before us, which we may, like them, fall short of through unbelief.
labour--Greek, "strive diligently."
that rest--which is still future and so glorious. Or, in
"That rest into which Christ has entered before"
fall--with the soul, not merely the body, as the rebel
after the same example--ALFORD translates,
"fall into the same exam